Over the last few days I have been experimenting with the AUR and building PKGBUILD’s from it, the AUR is the Arch User Repository and my god it is great. Not only is there a heap of software in it but its very easy to add and install software from.
Now, Ubuntu’s PPA’s on the other hand, which i used extensively when i used Ubuntu, are great, but they require constant management, because you are constantly adding, removing and changing around the PPA’s. Not to mention the fact that more often than not, many Ubuntu users will have upwards of 40-50 PPA’s added to their system at any one time.
The AUR on the other hand, requires much less maintenance, it only needs to be added once. After that you can either build the PKGBUILD’s by hand or use an AUR helper like yaourt. Either way, it’s very, very easy to use.
The other great advantage of the AUR is that dependencies of applications in the AUR are very unlikely to break your system because the packages are often only a little bit more bleeding edge than the packages in the other repositories.
I have now been using Arch for one whole week, during this week, I have been experimenting with it and discovering new things.
My initial thoughts are that Arch is right for me, it has no frills, it has no intention of being an annoying, newbie oriented, hindering, clunky, non-configurable distro. I am currently happy with my selection of fluxbox, its minimal, although requires some configuring to get right, even after a whole week, I have barely started getting it to the point where I am happy, but at least it doesn’t feel half-configured still, it’s just not the way I want it yet.
Pacman, I like Pacman, its quicker than apt and uses fewer resources, it does seem to have connection problems frequently, although that could be blamed on my net connection, which is currently behaving like a 5-year-old on drugs (i.e. Its frustrating, annoying and constantly making me want to stab something). One thing switching to Arch has done is made me rethink just about all my default application choices, with the exception of screen, irssi and bash, all of which I will probably never swap out.
Installing Arch is not nearly as hard as many people think, it is as easy as an Ubuntu install until you get to configuring graphics and sound, which caused me to become stuck, but I soon figured it out thanks to the awesome arch users on irc. One thing I can recommend to anyone who is thinking of trying Arch is to read the Arch wiki! The Arch wiki is hands down some of the best documentation I have ever used. Not only is it great quality, it’s also extremely comprehensive and provides more than just an installation guide.
The Arch repositories also contain everything you will ever need, they are just as big as Ubuntu’s repositories and they contain much more recent software.
Overall, I am loving Arch, it is a great distro and I plan on using it for a long time to come.